IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
September 12, 2011
ESCO MARINE INC., PLAINTIFF,
SS PACIFIC STAR, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge
Presently pending on this court's law and motion calendar for September 15, 2011, is defense counsel Robert Sheppard's motion to withdraw as counsel. There has been no opposition. Having reviewed the motion to withdraw, the court finds that the matter is appropriate for decision without oral argument. The court finds that withdrawal is appropriate based on Mr. Sheppard's representations.
Withdrawal of counsel is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California and the Local Rules of the United States District Court, Eastern District of California. See Local Rule 182. The withdrawal of representation is permitted under the Rules of Professional Conduct if "[t]he client knowingly and freely assents to termination of the employment...." Cal. R.P.C. 3-700(C)(5). Local Rule 182 provides that "an attorney who has appeared may not withdraw leaving the client in propria persona without leave of court upon noticed motion and notice to the client and all other parties who have appeared."
The decision to grant withdrawal is within the discretion of the Court and leave "may be granted subject to appropriate conditions as the Court deems fit." Local Rule 182(d). In his declaration, defense counsel Sheppard states that he only agreed to appear for defense counsel Furstman on a limited and temporary basis and then only made a special appearance for Furstman when he was in the hospital. Clients Falche and SS Pacific Star have not paid him for nine months and owe his firm over $35,000. According to Sheppard's declaration, there have been serious communications problems in that these clients have not responded to several dozen emails sent by Mr. Sheppard, and have not returned over two dozen phone messages over the last five months. Finally, Mr. Sheppard states that he and the other principals of his firm are not members fo the Eastern District of California bar.
Good cause appearing, IT IS ORDERED that:
1. The September 15, 2011 hearing on the motion to withdraw as counsel is vacated.
2. Robert Sheppard's motion to withdraw as counsel, filed August 12, 2011, (dkt. no. 137), is granted.
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